I recently got the chance to talk to Evan Cleaver about his role in ‘The Host’. Here, Evan talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘The Host’ takes place in a world where humans are almost extinct. They’ve been taken over by Souls from another planet who travel the universe perfecting each place they reside. Melanie – (Soairse Ronan) is taken over by a Soul named Wanderer, but Melanie’s love for the people in her life is so strong she fights inside her body to remain alive and seek her loved ones.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Seeker Pavo is part of a group that searches for humans whose bodies haven’t been occupied yet. Basically Seekers are the detectives of the Souls. We spend the film looking for some pretty cool people – Soarise Ronan, William Hurt, Max Irons, Jake Abel, and Frances Fisher, can’t give away whether or not we find them in the film, but it was awesome to see all of those people on set.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
RPM Casting called me into read for the role. Meagan Lewis is an amazing casting director who gave me a shot a huge project even though I hadn’t done a major feature film before. A week or so later I got a callback in front of the director Andrew Niccol. That was incredible because I know his work from ‘Gattaca’, ‘In Time’, and of course his Oscar nomination from ‘The Truman Show’. Thought the audition went well, but weeks passed by and I didn’t hear anything so I forgot about it. Then that wonderful call…”you got the part”. First day on set a voice said “Evan Cleaver”. I turned and said “Yes. Hello”. The voice said “I’m Stephenie Meyer. I remember you from your audition tape”. That made my year.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
In an era where we see so many recycled stories Stephenie Meyer shines as she creates worlds and characters that are fantastical and different. Her imagination is rare. She’s truly a creative genius in the way she tells a story.
The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons, Rachel Roberts, Shyaam Karra, Brent Wendell Williams, Jhil McEntyre, Jalen Coleman, Stephen Rider and Jaylen Moore – with Andrew Niccol onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
The cast was superb. Watching them work daily helped me grow tremendously as an actor. My favourite part of the day would be getting a chance to chat with Diane Kruger a lot at lunch. She plays the lead Seeker and we would chat about films, travel, and books. It was surreal because I love her in ‘Inglorious Basterds’.
Let’s talk a bit about you Evan. What made you want to get into the acting industry in the first place?
My Grandmother Betty Lu Donaldson was a theater major at KU. I grew up around theater and was intrigued. My Mom has seen 98 of the AFI top 100 movies. 98! Being raised around them I fell in love with the craft. Then there was this guy named Sidney Poitier you may have heard of. When I saw him I thought “I want to do what THAT guy is doing”. He’s my inspiration.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Don’t do it! UNLESS you can’t be happy doing anything else, you’re resilient, and you have talent. If a person has all three of those then my advice would be to seek top-notch training and find always play every character as well as you would want someone to play you.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
The Lumineers. Kendrick Lamar. Nirvana. Outkast. Alicia Keys. Curtis Mayfield. Journey.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad. I’m a Christian, but more than anything I’m spiritual so I’d leave that dinner spiritually lifted and enlightened.
Which film was your favourite of 2012 and why?
‘Silver Linings Playbook’. I just love quirky love stories that remind us what it’s like to be human. It’s cut from the same cloth as ‘Juno’ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. Love movies about people behaving strangely cause I’m weird. Also love movies that capture the sense of humanity and all of our complicated feelings. ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ did that for me. ‘Crash’ and ‘American Beauty’ did as well. It’s rare.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
Hopefully the sequel to ‘The Host’. Actually I’m writing a short film called ‘Why I’m Single’ which is a comedy about, well…why I’m single. Other than that, auditions, auditions, auditions until I get that magical call again. The life of an actor. I love it.
Thanks for the interview!